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My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's Dangerous to Read the News

Look, I have sympathy for newspaper reporters. Every day they're sent out to cover a story on a subject they know absolutely nothing about. Then they have to come back to the paper and write about the subject in a concise and comprehensive way under an impossible deadline.

No wonder so many reporters aren't good at their jobs.

But, you know, you really should be required to read the beginning of your own story before writing the ending.

Case in point. Health & Fitness editor Amy Bertrand of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Her January 29, 2007 column, Lactose intolerance is a matter of degree dealt with common LI questions:

If someone is lactose-intolerant, can they consume food that is baked or cooked with milk? Is buttermilk under the same category?

She talked to Jennifer Moffett, a dietitian with Christian Northeast Hospital to get an answer.

I can picture how the conversation went. Moffett talked to her for 45 minutes about every aspect of LI. Then Bertrand boiled it down to two sentences, missing the point in the process.
"There are a lot of different tolerance levels among different people... A lot of times people can tolerate yogurt or cheese baked in a product, but some people are ultrasensitive and can't even tolerate margarine"

Well, most LI people can tolerate cheese and yogurt without it being cooked. That's because cooking doesn't affect the lactose content of any dairy product. A high-lactose food will remain high-lactose after cooking. A low-lactose food will be low-lactose even if cooked.

But that's not what got me steamed.

Early in the article she writes this completely correct paragraph:
Lactose intolerance is the inability to make the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. Lactase helps your body digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and milk products.

And then she pulls out this doozy:
Most people can treat lactose intolerance with lactate tablets and other products.

Lactase tablets. Not lactate, a completely different chemical. Lactase. As in the sentences you wrote 100 words earlier.

Sigh. My life is hard.

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